So a sympathy for writers and thinkers who define themselves by a sense of loss comes naturally to me. I’ve grown out of it in many ways — and the depression and loneliness that often lie at the core of the reactionary mind slowly lifted as I grew more comfortable in the only place I could actually live: the present. But I never doubted the cogency of many reactionary insights — and I still admire minds that have not succumbed to the comfortable assumption that the future is always brighter. I read the Christian traditionalist Rod Dreher with affection. His evocation of Christian life and thought over the centuries and his panic at its disappearance from our world are poignant. We are losing a vast civilization that honed answers to the deepest questions that human beings can ask, replacing it with vapid pseudo-religions, pills, therapy, and reality TV.
Source: Andrew Sullivan: Why the Reactionary Right Must Be Taken Seriously
There was a time when the West knew what it was about. It did so because it thought about itself—often in freshman Western Civ classes. It understood that its moral foundations had been laid in Jerusalem; its philosophical ones in Athens; its legal ones in Rome. It treated with reverence concepts of reason and revelation, freedom and responsibility, whose contradictions it learned to harmonize and harness over time. It believed in the excellence of its music and literature, and in the superiority of its political ideals. It was not ashamed of its prosperity. If it was arrogant and sinful, as all civilizations are, it also had a tradition of remorse and doubt to temper its edges and broaden its horizons. It cultivated the virtue of skepticism while avoiding the temptation of cynicism.
Source: Bret Stephens, Do We Still Want the West? – WSJ
The general feebleness, you sense, bleeds into something that is actually menacing. There’s an Orwellian quality to how language is used at HubSpot. People aren’t fired here, for example. They “graduate.” So many people graduate and disappear, you write, that “it’s like living in Argentina during the 1970s.
”HubSpot sends out, and its software helps other companies send out, tons of spam. But here spam is called — wait for it — “lovable marketing content.” This kind of jargon infects the company at every level.
Employers have learned that millennials like to feel they’re on a mission, not merely at a job, so a mission is invented. You and other new hires are told: “We’re not just selling a product here. HubSpot is leading a revolution. A movement. HubSpot is changing the world.”
Dwight Garner: Review: ‘Disrupted,’ a Tech Takedown by Dan Lyons, a.k.a. Fake Steve Jobs – The New York Times
The solution to this tension is surely open discussion in which everyone can participate. And yet, the prevailing ethos seems to be that if one feels hurt or offended that is the end of the discussion. You cannot understand another’s experience or arguments. But a liberal education is premised on precisely the opposite idea, one that requires not safe spaces to retreat to but a common space to engage in. And democracy requires that common ground, one that anyone can access. “I sit with Shakespeare and he winces not,” wrote W.E.B. Du Bois . “Across the color line I move arm in arm with Balzac and Dumas, . . . I summon Aristotle and Aurelius . . . and they come all graciously with no scorn nor condescension.”
Fareed Zakaria, On college campuses, separate is still unequal – The Washington Post
In his essay “Culture and Anarchy,” Matthew Arnold defines culture “as having its origin in the love of perfection; it is a study of perfection.” Those in pursuit of human perfection—those who aim to be enriched and ennobled by art, literature, science, and philosophy—incline naturally towards what Arnold famously called “sweetness and light.”
via Dying art by Malcolm Forbes – The New Criterion.
However, there’s another way to see the relationship between culture and mental health. A different group of thinkers — including, most prominently, cultural psychiatrists — sees culture as doing more than just giving different names to universal mental disorders. Culture doesn’t just shape what a mentally ill person calls his or her illness, they argue — it determines what counts as illness in the first place.
“Culture tells us what is normal, what is abnormal, what is deviant, what is not deviant, and where you seek help from,” says Bhugra.
If this is true — if it’s culture that decides what’s “crazy” and what’s reasonable behavior — then there may be no such thing as an illness that isn’t culture-bound. It’s not that a handful of disorders no longer belong in a cultural appendix; it’s that perhaps they all do.
via Do some cultures have their own ways of going mad? – Page 5 – Boston.com.